11/19/2010 6:37PM

Hollywood: O'Neill's evening outlook


Trainer Doug O'Neill has had a solid start to the Hollywood Park fall meeting, with six wins from his first 30 starters. The record is strong enough to leave him atop the trainer's standings through Wednesday.

Friday evening, O'Neill has three starters in the fifth through seventh races, and wins by any of them - It Could Be Worse in a maiden claimer over five furlongs, Came Aboard in a $40,000 claimer on turf, or Cat Brando in a $16,000 claimer over 6 1-2 furlongs - would produce a decent mutuel and surprise the trainer.

It Could Be Worse is part of a 10-horse field, and is one of five first-time starters in the race. "He's got some speed and if he breaks...We don't have a lot of works in him, but I like his chances," O'Neill said.

Swiss Hero, second at this level in his seventh career start on Oct. 31, and the first-time starter Speed Bias, will also draw attention.

Came Aboard drew the rail in the sixth race, and was eighth in a $32,000 claimer on Oct. 29, his first start in almost five months. "We did a little surgery, took a chip out of a knee, and he's doing well," O'Neill said. "He still might be a race away to win at this level, but I think he could hit the board."

Keen Bidder is a threat. He was second in a $50,000 claimer on Oct. 29.

O'Neill has limited expectations for Cat Brando, who he says is not always a cool customer on the track. 

"If they ran the races in the morning, he'd be undefeated," he said "When he gets close to the gate, he gets anxious and flustered. It's hard to school for that. He doesn't have any confidence."

Cat Brando won a maiden claimer over 1 1-16 miles at Fairplex Park on Sept. 9 in his sixth start and has since finished second and fourth. Cat Brando must beat Via Verde, who ran in three stakes at the Santa Anita meeting earlier this year and is dropping to a career-low level of $16,000 in Friday's seventh race.